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‘Fundamentally broken’: Student loan official with Trump admin quits, calls for debt forgiveness and wants to be a senator

‘Fundamentally broken’: Student loan official with Trump admin quits, calls for debt forgiveness and wants to be a senator
A Trump administration student loan official has left his post, blasting a “broken” loan system and calling for college debt forgiveness. Though it's is a popular progressive view, he’s planning to run for office as Republican.

A. Wayne Johnson stepped down from his post at the Office of Federal Student Aid on Thursday, offering a blistering critique of a system that has saddled the average borrower with tens of thousands of dollars in debt that cannot be canceled or, increasingly, repaid. Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, and 40 percent of them are expected to default on it by 2023.

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When … somebody has $40,000 in student loan debt and, because of forbearances or deferments and the accrual of interest, they wind up with $120,000, you have to step back and say this is fundamentally broken,” Johnson told the Wall Street Journal.

The time has come for us to end and stop this insanity.

Johnson wants to replace the existing system with a $50,000 credit for students looking to attend college, a credit that does not require repayment. For those already encumbered by debt, he’d forgive $50,000 of it, which would cancel out the balances of some 37 million borrowers. Those who’ve already repaid the money would receive a $50,000 tax credit.

If that sounds like a campaign promise, Johnson is running for the Georgia Senate seat that will be left vacant at the end of the year when Republican Johnny Isakson retires. He describes himself as a moderate Republican, though it’s unclear how the one percent corporate revenue tax he proposes to pay for the $925 billion debt forgiveness plan will be received by the party that hates “free stuff.”

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However, he reasons that corporations should be willing to “invest in training people” since they are ultimately “consuming” higher education.

Johnson is actually the second Trump administration education official to resign in disgust. Seth Frotman, who was the student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, left last year after seven years in the role, accusing the agency of “hurting families” and of abandoning students to “serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in America.

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